Food Abominations Threaten Our Planet

They say beggars can't be choosers, but they're wrong. People can and should have standards even in the most dire of situations. My wife and I were once approached by a homeless man in downtown Indianapolis who asked for a few dollars so he could buy lunch.

"I don't have any cash, but I'd be happy to buy you Jimmy John's on my credit card," I said, pointing at the sandwich shop across the street.

He got a pained expression and said, "If it's all the same to you, I'd rather not have Jimmy Johns's."

I laughed and pointed next door, "How about Qdoba?"

"That'd be good," he said, and we got him his lunch.

"He must really hate Jimmy John's," I said to my wife later. "He risked getting nothing rather than eating there."

Shoppers in England faced a similar situation last week when they were waiting for an impending blizzard. As happens before any snowstorm, people began panic-buying groceries as if the apocalypse were tomorrow, and this was the last food anyone was ever going to see.

They cleared everything out. The shelves were empty, the milk, eggs, and bread were gone, and the freezer cases were bare. Except for one item, left behind like the last kid picked for dodgeball.

It was the Hawaiian pizza. No one wanted the Hawaiian pizza.

I don't blame them, Hawaiian pizza is terrible. An epicurean abomination. It's the car crash of the food world: we can't stop looking at it, but we certainly don't want to get involved.

According to a story in the (London) Daily Mirror, shoppers at a Tesco market in Britain left behind a pile of £3 ($4.14) Hawaiian pizzas.

"There have been reports of people queuing for hours to get their hands on the essentials and police have even been called to stores to deal with arguments," wrote the Mirror. "But despite their desperation, there was one product that some people still wouldn't touch: ham and pineapple pizzas."

This is even after clearing out every other kind of pizza, including cheese pizza, which is barely a pizza. It's more of an open-faced grilled cheese sandwich. But even that's a real pizza compared to the sin-against-God-and-nature that is Hawaiian pizza.

Hawaiian pizza is basically just ham and pineapple on a pizza, because it reminded someone of the traditional Hawaiian luau of roasted pig served with pineapple. It seems almost racist.

It's like Marge from the PTA had never actually been to Hawaii, but read about a luau in a brochure, said, "well, ham comes from a pig, I've had a can of pineapple chunks three years, and I've got a group of friends I secretly hate. Maybe I'll invite them for dinner."

Then she shared the pizza with her friends, and they all died before they could warn everyone.

And that's why Hawaiian pizza still exists today. But that's not the worst food abomination ever. The worst food abomination is the barbecue craze that's been happening in Brooklyn.

A story on talked about the growing trend of artisanal barbecue. A restaurant called Fette Sau has started a new trend of "modern, urban, non-traditional (barbecue)," Joe Carroll told Vice, who seems to relish not having a barbecue background and "wasn't interested in following the footsteps of the Carolinas, Memphis, or Texas."

Look, New Yorkers get all snotty and self-righteous about their pizza. I can't tell you the number of New Yawkers I've heard decrying New York Style pizza made anywhere but The City That Always Shouts.

"It's the wooder!" they say, pronouncing "water" that special New York way. And I'll admit, they do make great pizza. But there is no way they do barbecue right.

"I think we started a wave of a more modern, urban, non-traditional BBQ," Carroll told Vice. But he didn't have a barbecue background, and wasn't interested in learning how they did it in the Carolinas, Memphis, or Texas. No, he grew up in northern New Jersey and wanted to create something that was special to the area.

That's fine, but that ain't barbecue. Good barbecue — righteous barbecue — comes from one place: The South. It's made by fat guys named Earl who stay up all night, beer bottle in one meaty fist, massive tongs in the other, hovering over the slow cooker like a father waiting for his daughter's first date to end.

Don't get me wrong, I've had some amazing pulled pork in Indiana and Chicago, but even that was made by good ol' Southern boys who either moved up north or were just visiting for a barbecue contest.

Look, good barbecue does not come from man-bunned hipsters named Tyler or Auden who learned the craft by watching YouTube videos on their phone.

Brooklyn barbecue isn't a style of food, it's a warning.

But if you put it on a pizza, I might be interested. Just hold the pineapples or we can't be friends.

Photo credit: Janine from Mililani, Hawaii (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 2.0)

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